Sunday, August 28, 2011
We had such a good time at the Nashville Zoo last February, we've been longing to go back and become members ever since. This morning seemed like the perfect time. We were there right after it opened and enjoyed some lively time with the animals in the cool morning. I felt blessed with some lovely connections, from feeding the beautiful lorikeets with their sweet little clingy feet to a powerful moment with a peaceful giraffe (my mom might remember her as Htebazile).
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Learning this week to balance my compulsive drive to keep gobbling down poems with my desire to savor and keep the process fun. So in this spirit I'm just going to share one verse from a current favorite: "Last night, as I was sleeping" by Antonio Machado:
Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt - blessed illusion! -
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old bitterness.
Although I will say that if you want to read the full poem, it pretty much knocks one's socks off. Have a beautiful week!
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Not soon, as late as the approach of my ninetieth year,
I felt a door opening in me and I entered
the clarity of early morning.
One after another my former lives were departing,
like ships, together with their sorrow.
And the countries, cities, gardens, the bays of seas
assigned to my brush came closer,
ready now to be described better than they were before...
So after my post last week an amazing poem dropped into my lap, "Late Ripeness" by Czeslaw Milosz. Oh, it has been fabulous company! Learning a poem like this is such a pleasure. It feels good in one's mouth and throat to speak such beautiful words and I love how the various meanings of the poem unfold as one gets to know it better. Eventually, there's a fabulous point of union where you feel both like you're in the poem and it's in you. And here's the craziest part - other than the cost of printing it off, it's free! While driving I would recite it out loud, adding a few words at a time. While waiting for the bus I would recite it in my head, testing myself on new sections. This has provided hours of entertainment, a workout for my brain, and deep nourishment for my soul. I was a little stumped on how to read a line in the last stanza and when I found this video I felt like I was in heaven. Enjoy!
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Lately I've been catching up on a rather amazing backlog of my favorite magazine, The Sun. As you know, for some reason for the past year I've craved memoirs of women going through soul searching times. And now the tide is turning again. I've been able to catch up on a lot of issues, still have plenty more to go, but I'm getting there. It was a delight recently to read the interview in the December, 2010 issue: "Written on the Bones: Kim Rosen on Reclaiming the Ancient Power of Poetry" by Alison Luterman (one of my favorite writers for The Sun).
As often happens with The Sun, this article spoke directly to my soul. I have a profound respect for the power of poetry. At times I've memorized poems that have been great friends to me when I've been in despair. And then when life speeds up again I find I'm moving too fast to give poetry the time and space it needs and it falls off my radar. Just in the same way that losing my sense of humor is a danger sign for me, I really would be well served to notice if I'm able to slow down enough to enjoy a good poem. And, thankfully, these days I am.
This conversation between Kim Rosen and Alison Luterman focuses on the power of reading poetry and learning poems by heart. While they touch on the power of writing poetry, they're really talking about the appreciation and enjoyment of making great poems part of one's life. It inspired me to check out Rosen's book, Saved by a Poem, and wander the anthology section of the library's poetry collection.
There I found an amazing series of books, which I'm just diving into, but so far would highly recommend: Roger Housen's Ten Poems series. I believe there are five books in this series so far: Ten Poems to Change Your Life, Ten Poems to Open Your Heart, Ten Poems to Set You Free, Ten Poems to Last a Lifetime, and Ten Poems to Change Your Life Again and Again. Right now I'm reading Ten Poems to Open Your Heart (who's surprised?) and I love the format. He's selected ten excellent poems and after the text of each one he includes a beautiful exploration, not a scholarly essay. He looks at the themes in really human ways, often bringing in examples from his own (fairly messy) life. This is good, soulful stuff. If you've been wanting to explore poetry, but have been put off by dry study of the classics in school, I would encourage you to visit your local library and check out one of the Ten Poems series and try it again.
Have a beautiful week!